Report: Real Maryland 3- Cleveland City Stars 2
Revenge Mission Complete
An 87th minute goal by Dennis Alas gave Real Maryland all three points in a pulsating encounter at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
Following a 4-0 loss in Cleveland last week, Real Maryland was looking to turn its fortunes around and gain three vital points towards US Open Cup qualification.
Real Maryland’s victory coupled with Wilmington’s 1-1 draw against Harrisburg means the Monarchs are assured of a spot in this year’s US Open Cup!
Things did not start well for the Monarchs, however, as Cleveland struck the games opening goal after only seven minutes.
Real Maryland failed to clear out of its own end and the ball fell to Cleveland’s Sallieu Bundu. The former Columbus Crew forward played Luke Williams in on goal and the Texas native dispatched his shot past the onrushing Emilio Zelaya.
Cleveland doubled its lead ten minutes later. Josh Westerman was allowed to run free down the right and put a pinpoint cross onto the foot of Floyd Franks whose first time volley flew in off the crossbar.
Despite the fact that it looked like a repeat of last weekend could be in the making, the Monarch players refused to let their heads drop, continued to push forward, and were rewarded for their efforts on the half hour mark.
Substitute Teodoro Ramirez played the ball into the center for Dennis Alas stationed about 25 yards from goal. The El Salvador international lined up and fired a shot towards the upper right hand corner. City Stars goalkeeper Eric Reed looked like he was in position to make the save, but the ball trickled through his hands and landed just over the goal-line.
Things became a little chippy in the 34th minute when Real Maryland forward Nilson Perez and Cleveland defender Jeremy Tolleson went up for a 50/50 ball in the Cleveland City penalty area. Tolleson caught the elbow of the Real Maryland forward and lost two teeth. A Cleveland City Stars assistant coach was sent off for his part in the ensuing melee which halted the game for a full seven minutes.
Real Maryland was back on level terms seven minutes into the second half. Poor clearance out of the City Stars’ defense fell to Dennis Alas who quickly slid the ball into William Brindley. The forward laid the ball off for strike partner Nilson Perez who slammed the ball into the roof of the net.
The match ebbed and flowed and both teams created chances, but the defining moment for Real Maryland came three minutes from full time.
Brindley flicked a long ball onto Alas at the top corner of the box and the Salvadorian sweetly struck his first time shot just inside the far post.
Cleveland pushed everyone forward in hopes of finding the equalizer, but all eleven Monarch players defended bravely to preserve the second victory in Real Maryland history.
“The biggest difference between this weekend and last weekend is that we played as a team,” Real Maryland defender Stephen Basso said after the match. “We kept the ball, we passed it well and it wasn’t just one person trying to do everything by themselves.”
Real Maryland can now look forward to next Saturday’s match at 7:30 versus the Wilmington Hammerheads at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
Click here for the official USL statistical match report:
Click here for post game comments from Real Maryland coaches and players: https://realmaryland.us/html/notesquotesgame5.html
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